Mystery shopper: An extensive tour of Japan

Mystery shopper: An extensive tour of Japan

Location: Kensington, London
Wanted: A couple would like to visit Japan and tour the country for two weeks in April, seeing as many sites as possible.
Budget: £6,000

Trailfinders
194 Kensington High Street
75%
The shop front was simple and inside there was a buzzing atmosphere with interactive screens. I was acknowledged and asked to take a seat while an agent with Japan expertise was found. The agent was highly knowledgeable and enthusiastic, and built up a friendly rapport. He recommended a 14-day Classic Discover Japan tour with G Adventures, which covered Tokyo, Takayama, Kanazawa, Hiroshima, Kyoto, Fujikawaguchiko and Mount Fuji before returning to Tokyo. Total cost was £7,228, leaving Heathrow on April 4 with a transfer in Abu Dhabi. It was over my budget, but the service was exceptional and the tour information very detailed.

Travelbag
205
Kensington High Street
73%
The agent was very patient, friendly and enthusiastic, but immersed in her computer for long periods. The first option was a nine-day Discover Japan tour by Tonichi, with stays at Shiba Park Hotel, Prince Hakone, Hida Hotel Plaza, Nikko Kanazawa and the New Miyako. With a flight from Heathrow on April 19 and a Doha transfer, it cost £5,658. The agency offered good value holidays and had plenty of options to discuss.

Kuoni
184 Kensington High Street
60%
The agent was patient, but not overly friendly and did not appear excited about the holiday choices. She phoned two operators, but as their tours were fully booked, she only suggested one. The 13-day Leisurely Tour of Japan from Trafalgar had hotel and ryokan stays in Osaka, Kotohira, Matsuyama, Hiroshima and Tokyo. The flight left Gatwick on April 14 with a transfer in Dubai. The tour was slightly over my budget at £6,145.


Winning agent

Jesse Sharp, senior travel consultant

“I am so pleased to have won as I always hope my own love for travelling comes across when I’m with a customer. ”


Verdict

It was very close this week, but the winning agent offered the best customer service. He would have scored even higher, had it not been more than £1,000 over budget.


Elite resorts caribbean

Top-scoring agent each month will win use of a car for 10 days.

The winning agent must be at least 25, for insurance reasons. Winners under 25 will win a week’s all-inclusive holiday at an Elite Islands Resorts property. The prize is non-transferable and the car must be driven only by the winning agent. The winner must not have any serious driving convictions. Elite Island Resorts will endeavour to supply the car to the agency but reserves the right to request the winning agent to collect and return the car from Essex or a central location

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